KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly witnessed uproar once again, as lawmakers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) indulged in ethnic politics on Thursday.

During his speech during a discussion on the budget, MQM-P lawmaker Muhammad Hussain took a jab at the provincial government, saying the current budget was prepared by the bureaucracy. “We are not supposed to sit here just to approve your budget. No recommendation was taken from the opposition,” he said.

Hussain went on to say that entire Sindh is dependent on 85 percent of the total tax paid by Karachiites. “Karachi bears the burden of rural Sindh. Rural Sindh people are imposed on us, but we won’t let this happen. Some people are concerned when we talk about rights of Karachi,” he said.

The MQM-P leader asked the “so called” lovers of Sindh to give a reason for their “injustices” to the capital of the province. “How can you love Sindh without giving a penny to Karachi?” he asked. Hussain said the metropolis was deprived of water, electricity, transport and other basic amenities. The entire Sindh has been destroyed by corruption and bribery, he said.

The MQM-P lawmaker said the community development programme through which uplift works had to be carried out had been destroyed by “‘favouritism”, adding that the matter should be referred to the NAB for investigation. “The PPP top leadership has to face the consequences of ministers’ lethargy,” he said.

Hussain once again said the quota system was spreading hatred among people of Sindh. Had the provincial government fulfilled its responsibilities, the Water Commission would not have been constituted by the Supreme Court, he said.

PPP’s Sohail Anwar Sial hit back at MQM-P’s Muhammad Hussain, saying the latter’s party founder had raised anti-Pakistan slogans. “Those who are claiming about feeding Sindh were given food and place to live by Sindhis when they migrated from India after the partition in 1947. You should become Sindhi and Pakistani first,” he said.

Referring to the MQM-P, Sial said those who were dreaming of having their own chief minister could not make even their own opposition leader. He also came down hard on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, saying that performance of the Sindh government was far better than the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. Rejecting Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement of awarding nationality to Pakistan-born Afghans and Bengalis, he asked the PTI take those ‘illegal’ migrants to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

Grand Democratic Alliance’s Nusrat Seher Abbasi also took a jab at Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for presenting the budget in English. She said that finance ministers in the National Assembly and all other provincial assemblies present budgets in the national language, Urdu. She said that many blue-eyed persons were appointed to key posts, claiming that an employee of grade 5 had been promoted to grade 17 and an “ineligible” man was appointed officer to the Hyderabad Development Authority.

Abbasi alleged that a real estate tycoon was unlawfully awarded acres of Karachi’s land by the provincial government, adding that now the water of the city would also be given to this private housing scheme. She said that Anwar Majeed of the Omni group was given undue favour by the PPP but now he had been nabbed. “Anwar Majeed is going to confess all offences like a parrot,” she added.

Khurram Sher Zaman of the PTI said that his constituents had been deprived of water for several years. “Apart from Bilawal House, my entire constituency is deprived of water,” he said. He said the auditor general of Pakistan had consistently been exposing corruption of the PPP government. He asked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to take notice of “corruption” by his party men.

Zaman said that Rs6.8 billion had been allocated for the transport sector and a huge amount was spent during last tenures, but people were still compelled to travel in deplorable conditions and poorly maintained public transport vehicles. He was of the view that Karachi contributes a lot to the country’s economy, demanding that the mega city should be given its rights.

Other members from the treasury and opposition also spoke before the house was adjourned to meet again on Friday (today) at 10am.